It's now five months since I started my shopping ban and today I paid off my credit card in full. *happy dance*
Giving up shopping for shoes and clothes hasn't played a major part in clearing the debt, although it stopped the balance from continuing to creep up. As mentioned previously, I paid off a large chunk of the debt last month with my tax return and I chipped away at the last few hundred dollars of it with extra money I had in my pocket as a result of being too sick and exhausted to go to pilates and yoga for the past three months.
Now that I am debt-free, I can focus on boosting my savings to pay for an overseas holiday next year. Yay! Paying off debt feels great, but not as wonderful as watching your savings grow.
I'm toying with the idea of cancelling my credit card - that's the best way to avoid accruing further debt, after all - but I'm not sure I can let go of having it as a safety net just in case, even though I have enough money saved to act as an emergency fund. But...but I want to use that for a holiday! For fun stuff! Important soul-enriching experiences! Not boring, no-fun emergency stuff like buying a new fridge or paying for an operation or something.
Clearly I need to save enough for a holiday on top of an amount to keep aside as an emergency fund. Perhaps once I've done that I'll feel more secure about cancelling my credit card.
I have two months left of my shopping ban, but I think I'm going to continue beyond the end of the year, maybe stretch it out to a year of no shopping (which would be until 31 May 2017).
As I wrote recently, my shopping ban has instilled a desire to be more ethical about my clothing purchases in future, but the true foundation of an ethical wardrobe isn't to simply re-direct your spending to sustainable brands: it's about learning to live with less and making do with what you have; it's about buying what you need (secondhand or from ethical brands) with a focus on quality and durability.
So, extending my ban - continuing to make do with what I have already - is the best way to put that into practice. The most ethical consumption is no consumption! (Of course it's a lot easier to do that when you already have a massive wardrobe and many, many pairs of shoes...)
I'm still working on my post with practical advice and resources for ethical clothes shopping. It's coming soon.